laugardagur, júlí 30, 2005
She feels like Pandora in reverse, a packrat of mythic scale. Today several more of them appear, heavy, dense. What could be so important that she bothered to pack it or them in these boxes and haul them here, yet so unessential to daily life that it has not yet been missed? She reaches for the knife with one hand and slices one open, removes its contents, and puts them in their proper places, or places that will pass for proper. Old notebooks half-filled with notes, fiction purchased in distant airports, these are set on a lower shelf; audio cassette tapes - those relics! - stowed in a drawer; whimsical hats stacked above the woolens and foul-weather gear. The empty cardboard she slashes again and folds down, turns into a satisfyingly flat thing with no secrets in it. The activity has a pleasing forward momentum, a feeling of getting things done.
The third box beckons, and she reaches again for the knife, slips the point into the translucent tape and draws it down, down, and it bursts open at her. She is blinded, arms held before her face by reflex, the knife forgotten, and when she opens her eyes to look out past her wrists, she sees the room full of small birds. They wheel in a mass in the cramped space and flow like smoke out the open window. Her skin tingles every place their feathers brushed by her.
fimmtudagur, júlí 28, 2005
miðvikudagur, júlí 27, 2005
That would be harbor porpoise, arctic skua, great skua, storm petrel, black guillemot, and arctic tern.
þriðjudagur, júlí 26, 2005
She shrugs, sweeps up the mess, and heads out for the local café. They are playing Björk.
Noh, bara geysimyndilegur!
"Noh" is always hard to translate, but the phrase as a whole is perhaps best rendered as Heeeyyy, he's really handsome! And yet that does quite capture it either.
The element geysi- is the same as in Geysir, the periodically erupting hot spring whose name has become the English word for all other such geysers. In Iceland they are goshverir to distinguish them from the many other burbling, steaming, splattering things dotting the landsape.
The verb underlying both geysi- and gos- is gjósa, to gush or spout. Geysir means "gusher." Gos by itself is an eruption, in Iceland often volcanic, but now also denotes a sweet carbonated beverage, soda, pop, what you will (possibly Egils appelsín but perhaps not malt, which though both sweet and lightly fizzy is still just malt, I think, drekkur í sérflokki).
Geysi- is an all-purpose intensifier. Which is to say that when Icelanders gush about something, as above, they don't do so with the verb, as in English ("Hey! He's really handsome!" she gushed), but rather just tack geysi- onto the front of all the adjectives. Then everything becomes gushingly exciting (geysispennandi), gushingly good (geysigott), gushingly handsome (geysimyndilegur).
Sometimes this incorporation of the outburst itself (gos?) into the intensifying prefix sounds to me like overpronunciation, like stage directions read aloud, or like kids enunciating comic-book sound effects, thinking they are words: paff! gisp! sukk!
mánudagur, júlí 25, 2005
sunnudagur, júlí 24, 2005
laugardagur, júlí 23, 2005
fimmtudagur, júlí 21, 2005
"Oh, sorry. I was just ... thinking of something else. Right. Let's do it."
þriðjudagur, júlí 19, 2005
sunnudagur, júlí 17, 2005
Why always that tune? And then I hear it, the motor in the refrigerator. That is the first note, and the last, and several in between. It might be the fundamental, but knowing next to nothing about music, I wouldn't know. But that is what keeps happening; I match that note before I even know I heard it, and then unthinkingly I trill the rest of the tune. Meantime the refrigerator drones under the melody like the resonator strings of the hardanger fiddle, like the long pipes over the shoulder of the piper, half-forgotten as he fingers the chanter.
föstudagur, júlí 15, 2005
fimmtudagur, júlí 14, 2005
How arresting. I have the same disconcerting feeling I have had upon happening across taxidermy at a zoological park or a natural history museum and thinking what beautiful animals and then oh, they are real, they are dead. I recall hearing a docent at one such museum address just this reaction in her tour group by saying with audible regret that, yes, animals used to be "collected" from the wild for display purposes, but that the museum no longer sponsors such expeditions, and today only animals from zoos and sanctuaries, dead of natural causes, are used.
And I suppose the books have similiarly been culled from captive populations in bibliographic parks, and only after long and productive lives. I suppose none of them represents anything like an endangered species of printed matter. Nonetheless, the installation seems faintly inappropriate, and I leave feeling unsettled.
þriðjudagur, júlí 12, 2005
mánudagur, júlí 11, 2005
laugardagur, júlí 09, 2005
fimmtudagur, júlí 07, 2005
Now in the thicker, coastal air it is dark and cool. Outside, wind moves the trees. Inside, rows of books line rapidly-filling shelves. Tea steams in the cup. A cloth hangs in the window of the door, on the cloth the red dragon of Wales, tongue curling past its teeth, standing guard. But Sleep knows the password, and the dragon will let him by.